The artwork that will be reviewed is this work will be the Statue of Liberty. The sculpture was designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel in 1886. The enormous monument stands tall on the Liberty Island in New York (Staton 2). I visited this site during the summer holidays in 2014 as my family took a vacation to the state of New York. In this work my main objective is to prove that various sculptural artworks can be used to solve social problems in the society by acting as a constant reminder as to why the social problem should be prevented.
The proposal to build the statue of liberty was a proposal by a French anti-slavery activist called Edouard de Laboulaye in 1865 (Staton 1). His main reason for proposing this sculpture to create a monumental structure that would first, honor the United States centennial of Independence and the friendship between the US and France; secondly, to build a statue that would act as a constant reminder to the citizens of the US of the liberty granted to every citizen by the declaration of independence. This was aimed at discouraging slavery that was forced upon the blacks by the white population in the United States (Staton 21). In addition to that, the architect of the sculpture identified the Bedloes Island as the best location for the construction of this sculpture; this was because it was visible to every ship that entered and left New York harbor and in that error, the harbor was the main gateway into America (Staton 25).
In my opinion, the sculpture was built to aid in eradication slavery in the US. My opinion is based on the history of slavery in the US. The proposal for the building of the statue of liberty comes at a time when Abraham Lincoln had just issued his emancipation proclamation in 1863. This was an order that directed the slave owners in the south to free their slaves. This order was only applicable in areas that were under the control of the Union Army (Marruz 41). This therefore meant that the slaves in areas such as Louisiana and Virginia that were still not under the control of the Union Army were still subjected to slavery and unfair treatment (Marruz 43). In some other places in the US, the slaves were still subjected to the harsh treatment because they did not know of the emancipation proclamation (Marruz 50). Two years later in 1865 on the 6th of December, the 246 year of slavery came to an end (Marruz 51). This is the same year when the proposal of building the statue of liberty was put forward by Edouard de Laboulaye [anti-slavery activist].
Ever since the statue of liberty was put up on the Liberty Island, it has attracted various visitors and tourists. However, almost all the parts of the statue of liberty have a meaning in reference to the citizens of USA and the world at large. For example, the torch that is held by the right arm of the statue of Liberty symbolizes liberty enlightening the world and the crown with seven spikes represents the seven seas and the seven continental landmasses thus reinforcing the concept of liberty across the world. These are just but a few of the many structures that make up the statue of liberty; from the two discussed above, one can conclude that the statue and all its aspects were geared towards passing a message about liberation of mankind all over the world and that is why the designer wanted it to be outstanding at every level (Marcovitz 34).
Other literatures have been written trying to draw some meaning from Bartholdis design; one of the articles written in the USA Today Opinion reveal that the statue symbolizes the travels and triumph of the common man. As tens of millions of immigrants migrated into the US via New York, the first monumental structure that they met was the statue of Liberty. The statue symbolized a new beginning as they entered a land where people could succeed based on wits and not the social caste where he/she was born (Khan 34). This was against the traditional racial segregation and slavery that was exhibited by the white communities in the US.
The statue developed a new path of morale judgment in the USA. Most of the white people that still kept black people as slaves after 1865 count face legal action against them (Khan 45). This symbolized a bold step towards liberation of all slaves in the USA. All this time the statue of liberty stood tall at the coast of New York City constantly acting as a reminder to the people of USA of the importance of Liberty to all mankind (Khan 61).
In conclusion, I can affirmatively say that the goals for the construction of the statue of Liberty as envisioned by Edouard were achieved. This is enforced by the fact that it was the citizens of US that contributed their hard earned money for the construction of the pedestal where the statue was built. Both the whites and the blacks contributed towards this course thus reinforcing the notion of liberty as advocated by the designer of the statue.
Khan, Yasmin Sabina.Enlightening the World. Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 2010 print.
Marcovitz, Hal. The Statue of Liberty.Philadelphia, Mason Crest Publishers, 2003 print.
Staton, Hilarie N. The statue of Liberty. New York, Chelsea Clubhouse, 2010 Print.
Marruz, F. G. To the Statue of Liberty.Boundary 2, Vol 29, no. 3, 2002. Pp. 121-122. Duke University Press.
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